Fingerprint Line Types

Common Line Types (Shapes)  Found in Fingerprints

Loop Pattern

Fingerprint patterns are made up of ‘line-types’ (shapes) which determine the general classification characteristics of the print (i.e., Arch, Loop or Whorl). The ‘Pattern Area’, is a term used to describe the center area of a print which contains many of the line-types previously described. This area and its contents determine the classification of the print (i.e., Arch, Loop, Whorl, etc.). The following examples are typical of the most common line-types found in prints.

ROD-A Rod generally forms a straight line. It has little to no recurve features and tends to be found in the center of the fingerprint’s pattern area.

ELLIPSE-An Ellipse is a circular or oval shaped line-type which is generally found in the center of Whorl patterns.

SPIRAL-A Spiral line-type spirals out from the center of the fingerprint and is generally found in Whorl print patterns.

BIFURCATION-Is the intersection of two or more line-types which converge or diverge.

TENTED ARCH-Resembles a tent. This line-type quickly rises and falls at a steep angle. They tend to be associated with Tented Arch pattern prints.

LOOP-A Loop is a recurve line-type that enters and leaves from the same side of the fingerprint.

ISLAND-An Island is a line-type which stands alone. (i.e., does not touch another line-type and is totally contained in the pattern area of interest.)

SWEAT GLAND-The finger contains many sweat glands. The moisture and oils they produce actually allow the fingerprint to be electronically imaged.

MINUTIAE POINTS-Is the term used to define common micro features in a finger print. Common minutiae points are the intersection of Bifurcations, ending points of Islands and the center point of the sweat glands.

ARCH-Arch line-types can be found in most print patterns. Fingerprints made up primarily of Arches are sometimes classified as Arch prints.

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